Body Language To Improve Your Interviews
Award-winning author, James Borg, maintains that the most accurate way to gauge feelings, attitudes and emotions is through analysis of body language. So, to convince people—especially people we are meeting for the first time—that what we are saying is really true, we cannot allow our body language to devalue our words. Of course, job seekers must convince people they are meeting for the first time that their words are true. This means that congruence between our words and our body language can make or break an interview. If this sounds complex, don’t worry, here are The HeadHunters and TempsAhead’s essential body language tips for job interviews:
1) Take a moment to assess yourself
In job interviews, many people are nervous, anxious and a little flustered—the exact the qualities you are seeking to avoid in your verbal answers! What use are well-rehearsed anecdotes that demonstrate your expertise in the workplace if your body language depreciates these answers? So, be aware that, by default, these negative feelings provoke a certain type of body language. Candidates often avoid making eye contact, cross their arms, or fidget as they speak. If these examples sound like clichés, that’s because they are! However, by being mindful of these actions, you can choose not to do them in interviews.
2) Give the interviewer what they want
A good body language technique in interviews is to ‘mirror’ your interviewer’s posture, which suggests that you are like-minded people. And be sure to speak at a normal speed because fast speaking is associated with nervousness and slow speaking signals insecurity. An even tempo in your speech not only demonstrates your confidence, it mirrors your interviewer’s calm approach. This will help the interviewer believe that you have much in common with them.
3) Be open
Presumably, your verbal answers will indicate that you want to be a part of the interviewer’s team. The easiest way to demonstrate body language that is congruent with those answers is to ‘open up.’ Facing your interviewer with an open posture is a natural way to indicate that you belong in this group, while leaning forward a little demonstrates your enthusiasm. Likewise, nodding when the interviewer speaks affirms that you share their thoughts. And tilting your head slightly indicates that you are interested in what they have to say.
4) Don’t forget to smile
In a tight race, an interviewer usually selects the candidate who they think will best fit the established group. Your ability to be social, like it or not, is a determining factor in many job applications. That’s why the interviewer will ask you about your hobbies. Or for examples of team-based achievements. Many of us retain ‘stock’ answers to ensure such questions do not trip us up. This shrewdness will be undone, however, if your body language does not align with the socially confident person you are describing to the interviewer. A social smile may be all that is needed to corroborate your answers. Try it—not an insincere grimace but a smile that can be seen in your eyes.
Putting body language into practice
A lot of this would come naturally to you if you were chatting with a friend. It is the pressure of the interview situation that provokes incongruent body language. Still, knowing this ‘theory’ will remind you to ‘practice’ congruent body language in your most challenging job interviews.